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On Linux's growing territory

Date/Time Permalink: 05/10/06 05:20:46 am
Category: General

It's seldom that I address the "market" aspect of software, tiresome as that endless debate has gotten, but here is an article that manages to say something at least intelligent about the subject.

A quote from there is worth repeating:

"Microsoft does not hold onto its dominance of the desktop market because people have looked at Windows, Mac OS X, and GNU/Linux, and decided that Windows is a better product. They use Windows because it’s what they’ve always used. If they remember that far back, they used it because it came from the same place that MS-DOS did. It was a straight upgrade. For many, it was what came already installed on their computer, and they may not even feel competent to change that, even if they wanted to try something else."

In fact, it's worth bronzing and setting on a mantle. Redmond's attitude has always brought to mind a lottery winner who forever afterward, with the most hideous smugness, pretends that they won their riches through their brains, talent, ambition, and good looks.

But long ago I noticed that everybody else *but* Microsoft is growing awfully cozy with each other. There is not only Linux, but GNU, BSD, Open Solaris, ReactOS, plan 9, and a few others out there. More free software just keeps on coming, and none of it goes away, because how do you kill something that isn't done for money? And Open Source and Free Software is starting to get some big friends. IBM, Novell, and Sun Microsystems all sharing a common cause? We even hear a sympathetic murmur of encouragement from the MacIntosh section every once in a while.

So add to this the meat of the article, being that GNU/Linux has taken both the super-computer/mainframe market and the embedded gadget/cell-phone/palmtop market. The claim is that even though Windows has a majority of home computer desktops clutched in it's talons, it spent all it's efforts on one battle. Nearly everything but a home computer desktop is up for grabs and falling to Free Software by default.

That's an interesting picture. The story closes with Microsoft having hack-and-slashed all to strangle-hold one kind of technology in one demographic, only to watch the entire rest of technology become one united whole...that's mad at them. There they stand, without a single friend, having backstabbed everyone in their radius, clutching their one, tiny prize.

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